It’s the age-old adage of successful internet marketers everywhere…

The money is in the list.

Your email list, that is.

And there are plenty of stats to back it up.

For example, 44% of email recipients made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email.

If you’re not using email marketing, you’re falling behind the competition. One of the primary reasons email marketing is so crucial is that it allows you to build a relationship with your audience. Most of your prospects won’t be ready to buy or invest in your product or service from the outset—in fact, up to 95% of leads are not ready to talk to a sales rep after their first visit. But, eventually, most of these leads will be ready—you just have to steer them down the path to that eventual sale.

How? A lead nurture email campaign.

Lead nurturing is the process of building relationships with qualified prospects regardless of their stage in the buying cycle, with the goal of earning their business when they are ready.

A typical lead nurture campaign is 5-10 emails sent over 1-2 months. It references the original piece of content that caused the conversion and then has a call-to-action to convert to the next piece of content or offer.

But in order to create a lead nurture campaign, you first need a way to convert your website visitors into leads. In this article, we’ll talk about how to capture leads, segment those leads with email marketing tools, and create the right content to build a relationship with your audience.

How to Capture Email Addresses
When it comes down to it, the only thing a business owner owns is their email list—so capturing addresses is crucial. Lead capture is simply the idea of offering a reason for website visitors to sign up for your email list. This usually comes in the form of a promise of some future type of content in exchange for their email address.

That content is known as a lead magnet. The speed of your list building is directly correlated to the quality of your lead magnet. Subpar, unattractive lead magnet = very few sign-ups. Attractive lead magnet = tons of sign-ups.

So, what are the ingredients of an attractive lead magnet?
Jam-packed with value. Create something insanely useful for your audience. A piece of content they absolutely HAVE to have, and can’t resist clicking on. Avoid the basic “Sign up for free updates,” or “Sign up for the newsletter!” Let’s be honest here—people don’t care about free updates. That’s not enough of an incentive to gain a spot in their inbox. Let’s say you’re a software developer. A good lead magnet might be a PDF titled, “10 Questions You NEED to Ask Before Hiring a Developer”.
Free. Remember, most visitors aren’t ready to buy yet. Free, valuable content induces their emotions and hooks them in.
Clear offer. The lead magnet should be a clear offer that communicates the value readers will receive if they subscribe. And you should over-deliver on that value in your lead magnet.
Good placement. The lead magnet should be clearly visible on your website. Place your lead magnet on the top of your website and/or the upper right hand corner, as well as underneath each piece of your blog content.
Here are some great content options you can use for your lead magnet:
White Paper
Video Course
Free Trial
Segmenting Your Leads
Now that you understand how to create a lead magnet and capture leads, let’s talk about segmenting those leads. Because in order for your lead nurture campaign to be truly successful, you need to send the right message, to the right person, at the right time. Otherwise, your content will be too general to lead your prospects through the sales funnel.

You can segment your email leads with email marketing software that takes into account not just list segments, but also lead data, and trigger events. If you have a smaller business with a lower budget, then email marketing software like Aweber, Mailchimp, or GetResponse may be best. But if your budget is a bit bigger, you can use software that takes more data into account, like Infusionsoft or Salesforce.

There are many ways you can segment your email list. The type of segmentation you use will depend on the type of business you have. Here are some great ways to segment your email list:
Geography. This is especially important if you have a brick-and-mortar business—you don’t want to send in-store offers to out-of-towners.
Buyer Persona. Have you created buyer personas yet? If not, start here. Each persona has different needs and value propositions, and they require different email content for the best click-through and conversion rates.
Stage in the Sales Cycle. Remember, most people aren’t ready to buy from the outset. At the very least, you should segment your leads by those in the top of your sales funnel (just became aware of your product or service and signed up for your list), middle of your sales funnel (they’re evaluation your solution for their need), and the bottom of your sales funnel (almost ready to buy).
Lead Source. A trade show lead is at a different stage than a lead that signed up for a webinar. Vary your messaging by how people were converted into leads.
Building A Relationship Through the Right Messaging
Be Conversational and Personable
People want to interact with people, not companies. Get on their level. Talk to your leads like you’re a friend who absolutely HAS to give them a cool piece of info or advice, or tell them about an amazing offer. You’ve had conversations with customers before—start typing like you speak.
Start the conversation, and encourage them respond to your email and join in. The more engagement you have with leads, the more value you can provide, and the more trust you can build.

Educate and Inform
Educating leads is one of the best ways to shorten the sales cycle. When you educate people, you start to establish yourself as an authority in your field.

Don’t be overly salesy in these emails—but always educate them on a topic that relates to your product or service.

Let’s go back to the developer example. And let’s say you want leads to sign up for your software audit to fix their mobile or web applications. In the first nurture email, you can educate people on possible hazards that can affect applications. You can continue to educate and inform them for a few emails before your discuss your software audit more in-depth.

Specific Calls to Action
Each email should have one clear call to action (CTA). This way, you don’t confuse readers and they can focus on one subject at a time. As a result, they’ll be more likely to take action. Determine the primary action you want readers to take, and model your CTA around this.

At the beginning of your lead nurture sequence, use soft calls to action. For example, simply ask a question (in this case, the CTA is for them to respond), or ask them to follow you on social media. As your lead nurture sequence progresses, amplify the call to action and focus it more on your products and services. For example, in a seven-email lead nurture sequence, you’d want hard calls to action on the final two emails.

A lead nurture email campaign is essential for your business. People buy from people they know, like, and trust—so building a relationship is key. Most of your audience isn’t ready to buy, and they are at different stages of your sales funnel.

With a lead nurture campaign, you can send the right message, to the right person, at the right time, and transition them through your sales funnel to an eventual sale.